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Love It: Academy Awards Dress Replicas

I spoke of this librarian before saying it would be cool if her concept was compiled into a book (or maybe she could start with a blog?).

I’m breaking the law and posting the photo and full text here with complete byline since Community Press & Recorder articles tend to get lost (or purged) in the archives shortly after publication.

A fun fact about Heidi is that she does not sign her artwork and does not give autographs. If you are a Greater Cincinnati resident, check out the Covedale branch to see her display!

Librarian shares Oscar gowns

COVEDALE – Heidi Bullard loves this time of year.

February is the month movie buffs and fashion gurus turn their attention toward Hollywood for the annual Academy Awards, and Bullard is no different.

“I’m very much into the Academy Awards and I have a number of different lists or goals I’m working on regarding the Academy Awards,” she said.

“I also host an Oscar party each year.”

One of Bullard’s goals is to see every film nominated for Academy Awards in the top eight categories, which is more than 7,000 movies. She said she has about 50 movies still to see.

But like many people, the movies aren’t the only aspect of the glitzy award show the teen and reference librarian at the College Hill Branch Library looks forward to each year.

Bullard said she’s been interested in the fashion, particularly the dresses Hollywood stars wear to the gala, ever since entertainment magazines began scrutinizing the fashions in the mid 1990s.

She started collecting photographs from magazines and has since dressed more than 90 dolls in gowns she’s created to replicate those worn by the famous stars who have graced the red carpet.

About half of her glamorously gowned dolls, complete with replica hair styles and jewelry, are on display through the end of this month at the Covedale Branch Library, 4980 Glenway Ave.

Julie Hotchkiss, who usually decorates the library’s display case with her father, said they didn’t mind getting a month off to allow Bullard to display her collection.

“They have to be seen to be believed,” Hotchkiss said.

“She’s quite a seamstress and the gowns, as well as the dolls’ hairdos and jewelry, are amazing replicas.”

Eileen Mallory, branch manager of the Covedale library, said Bullard’s display has been very popular among library visitors.

She said children are drawn to the collection because of the dolls and adults appreciate the Oscar ties and Bullard’s attention to detail.

“It’s been extremely popular and well-received by people on all levels,” Mallory said.

“Every time I look up from the counter someone is lingering in front of the display and checking it out.”

Bullard said the dresses, most of which depict best actress winners, can take anywhere from two to 20 hours to make.

“It really depends on how much beading and pleating and complexities are involved,” she said.

“But it’s fun to do and I really enjoy the challenge of the puzzle.”

She said she enjoys selecting the material and pieces needed to make the gowns and then figuring out how to force 6 inches of fabric to fall the same way 6 feet of fabric normally falls.

“The dresses that are really popular are the ones that are really crazy,” she said. “The bad ones are also more fun to make than the good ones.” For instance, her collection includes replicas of a swan dress entertainer Bjork once wore and a dress one woman crafted from American Express gold cards, she said.

Bullard’s dolls have also been displayed downtown at the Main Library and at the branches in Madeira and Fort Thomas. “Mostly they just live at my house in solitude,” she said. “This is the time of year they come out.”

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